Digital data for spatial planning are an essential tool for urban development, especially in newly urbanising countries where new sources of digital data can both help to make sense of changing needs and demographics, and can enable interactive urban planning and governance. These facets of urban digital data have been distinct from each other until recently: ‘clean’, well-behaved data that are amenable to analysis versus ‘raw’, less structured data such as mobile phone records, social media and other ‘big data’ sources.
Today, however, the boundary between data subject and data user is becoming permeable. As citizens increasingly emit spatial data through their use of technology, and as data science becomes a more accessible tool for advocacy groups, faster and more extensive data can potentially allow city authorities to see and respond to factors such as mobility, crime and public feedback in real time.
The new Chance2Sustain opinion piece entitled Sustainable Data Science for Sustainable Cities: Big Data and the Challenge of Urban Development deals with the opportunities and limits of big data in providing more efficient governance at the city level. You can find it here and on delicious under the C2S tag.